All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The mentality of the maison close

This still is from 'L'Apollonide', a film showing at the Cannes Festival this year, dealing with the  existence - one cannot call it life - endured by the women in a late nineteenth century French brothel. A 'maison close'.
In other words, a skin flick with the word 'culture' veneered over it to make it all right to be seen watching it.

It was made in part by monies supplied by the Ile de France Region and normally the President of the Regional Council would have been at Cannes to attend the showing.....but 'events, dear boy, events'....have made him change his mind.

Monsieur Huchon does not think it appropriate to attend festivities while his friend Dominique Strauss-Kahn languishes in durance vile on the other side of the Atlantic...and, besides, he was shocked at the violence of the action and the images presented.
No..he's not talking about the film with its obligatory nudity and violence.
He's talking about Monsieur Strauss-Kahn being photographed in handcuffs.

Still, 'L'Apollonide' comes at an appropriate moment.

Everywhere but in France, the revelations of Monsieur Strauss-Kahn's predatory ways with women which have been made in the wake of his arrest on suspicion of sexual assault have roused debate on the role and status of women in French life.
In France, of course, no such debate will take place.
The incestuous circle of politicians and businessmen who rule France from Paris will make sure of that.
With the help of their journalist hangers-on.

France is Looking Glass Land and to understand how it works you have to go behind the mirror it holds up to the world and delve in the dirt and fly droppings behind.

France, you will be told, has a mature attitude to sex and infidelity.
What does this mean?

Well, delving among the fly droppings it means that  in the world of those Parisian circles that rule the country women are a currency in the wallets of men.

At work the woman accepts the 'attentions' of her bosses....or she gets out.
Her husband accepts that she accepts the 'attentions' of her bosses....after all, he is 'attending' to the women who work for him.
That's the way the Parisian world works.

Like the song from 'Kiss me Kate', 'I'm always true to you, darling, in my fashion', where the lady boasts of her preference for diamond clips and Cadillacs over fidelity...where Mr. Harris, plutocrat, wishes to give her cheek a pat and a Harris pat leads to a Paris hat, French women in the ruling circles, far from believing the world well lost for love, believe the world is gained by granting their favours in  return for maintaining their foothold in the circle.
And their husbands agree.

Do these women care that this attitude makes life difficult for the young women entering the world of work, where, as the Hungarian woman who was the object of the attentions of Monsieur Strauss-Kahn at the IMF said
'I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't.'
Of course not.

They live in the 'maison close' of the life at the top of French society.....where life as the rest of us know it does not intrude, where all that matters is money, where people who believe in love and fidelity are regarded...with a Parisian 'immature'.

Well, immature I may be, but it feels a lot cleaner to live in the real world than to have to associate with men who are not only NSIT (not safe in taxis) but NSIL (not safe in lifts) and having to act as their plaything.

No Paris hat is worth that.


  1. The only good thing about brothels is that it gives the entire business it's real name: vice.

  2. Steve, and the ladies of the ruling circles of France are nothing if not vicious...

  3. Rather than "mature", "antiquated" would seem to better reflect the rubbish attitudes to sex that are being revealed by this case.

  4. It's a sordid world at the top. I'm glad I'm not part of it.

    I don't regard it as mature either. It's arrogant, high-handed and decadent.

  5. Pueblo girl, antiquated, certainly and preserved by the privacy laws.

    Sarah, no it's not mature. That's the word used to excuse a system where women are complicit in their own degradation.

    John Gray, the subject is exactly one for the drawing room, but it has always disgusted me.

  6. Hear, hear! When the DSK case first broke I thought he'd been set up. But as the details emerged I realised he'd been up to his dirty tricks for decades. I hope he gets his just deserts.

  7. Dumdad, I bet his lawyers are out buying the Grand Jury as I write.

    What sickens me is the silence about his activities down the years.

    I really couldn't care how many affairs he had, but I do care that he takes advantage of women who come into contact...if that is an appropriate word...with him, and that it is known and covered up.

  8. Oooh…DSK2. Serious Fly Droppings then. I wonder how Ken Clarke will categorise DSK now if he’s found guilty as charged when the lawyers have finished gorging themselves on this one. Grievous bodily lust perhaps? Turns out he ‘was’ booked on that afternoons plane too. He must have been on some pretty serious heat not to have hung on another half a day till he got back to one of his own Maison Close’s back home. His legacy:- Most costly ‘fumble with carnal intentions’ of a rich and successful pervert in the 21st century. Deeply worrying that the MD of the IMF couldn’t rationalise that one all by his lonesome in a NYC hotel room the other day. No wonder Planet Earth is broke.

    We’ve got our own little one still leavening nicely over here with yet another insidious now ‘ex’ RBS plutocrat banker called Frederick Anderson Goodwin – Fred the Shred – Fred the Bed - or ‘FAG’ – for short, if you prefer. The good news today is that his ‘anonymity’ injunction was lifted by the House of Lords. So now the games afoot and he’s back in the public arena once again, we can once more let slip the dogs of war to his throat and begin serving this vile ruthless monster with his just and long overdue deserts. At the very least it will give some retribution to the 18,000 plus employees he viciously fired purely to qualify his numerous seven figure bonuses while he oversaw the complete destruction of the worlds largest company – RBS – turning it into the biggest UK corporate loss in our history and leaving us to pick up his £24 billion tab to boot while he slinked off with a massive six figure pension and another grossly overpaid position in a global firm of architects. FAG too is a card carrying ‘NSILT’ just like DSK, as is now rising rapidly to the surface of the sewage filled moat that surrounds his castle.

    It’s time we yanked the curtain down on the Bacchus’s of Paris’s duplicitous, orgying, self serving elite and elsewhere around our infested globe, once and for all. Inject pure bromide straight into the arteries of the serial NSILT’s, and introduce public castration by guillotine for sexually offending politicians, bankers and clergy. And not just in France. It’s time for the return of Batman. To hell with waiting around for the second coming of the Messiah. Batman & Robin will get the job done just dandy. We’ve got a huge pile of ‘redeeming’ needs doing and it needs doing right now! Why cant NASSA launch a great big flashing red light to sit above earths orbit to let any passing superheroes know we need a ‘supervisor’ to come to our aid – and fast please?

    I’ll keep an eye out for 'L'Apollonide' when it morphs into DVD. Never seen the inside of a brothel. And it’ll only cost me £3 to do so at Blockbuster too! Merci pour cette Fly.

    Loved your ‘droppings’ here by the way. Oh…and if you ever catch sight of Fred the Shed lurking around the edge of the jungle out there – feed him to the pigs and film it, cos there are more than 66 million people over here who will determinedly reward you with varied amounts of hard coin ‘and’ swear your innocence in court with great conviction.

    Yeaah…I know I’ve rambled on again here, but this particular subject is a very serious personal pet passion of mine. Enough said.And's not worth that hat. Have a good soir.

  9. Phil, yu're on.
    Fred the shred has only to set foot in Costa Rica and I'll be feeding him to the crocs on the Rio Tarcoles.

    I share your disgust at the incongruity of his destruction of a company and the vast handouts obtained for himself.

    Why not, when Northern Rock fell into the government's lap, did they not let the other banks wither on the vine and use the vast sums they doled out to them to make Northern rock a state bank, loaning to small businesses who were the first to suffer the consequences of bankers playing wily beguiled with other people's money.